Posted by: shannonc | July 12, 2010


Event report:  ENYDCTA HT (USEA) – Beginner Novice – July 11, 2010

You have something for me? Because I'm very very good!

We had about a half hour between stadium and xc.  I got off, put on my number and vest, and walked the pony down to find a patch of shade near the xc warmup.  Right outside the taped area was a jump judge trying to protect herself from the sun and 90-degree-plus midafternoon heat with a great big white umbrella.  Hmmm.  Maybe it’d be a good idea to let the pony investigate that before we have to ride to her fence, I thought, and walked him over.

While the pony snorted and huffed and danced around a bit trying to make up his mind about whether big white umbrellas make snacks of ponies…or maybe they are snacks *for* ponies?, the jump judge and I had a nice chat.  She said she’d had an Arab too and we discussed their common spooking styles and how they changed as the horses got to know us.  As I thanked her for spending all day volunteering in the heat and turned back to hide the pony in the shade again she called to me, “do you need anything?  Do you know the optimum time?”

And I realized I didn’t.  I’d seen it somewhere, sure, but it hadn’t really registered.  I thought about it a minute, then answered.

“You know…I don’t think I do!  But it’s okay – I just want us to hopefully get around clear.”

“Good!” the judge said.

Good, crazy, whatever.  This whole spring and early summer have been a rollercoaster ride of “am I asking too much?” dips and “or is it that I’m not asking enough?” heights.  Sprinkle in some exhaustively (I hope) investigated body issues and some days are just plain confusing.  When I’m confused, I’m usually overthinking.  I then normally proceed to underthink.  As we sat there trying to stay cool, I realized I was in underthinking mode and embracing the old back to basics strategy:

Rule 1.  Get over all the jumps.

Rule 2.  Get over all the jumps…

Rule 3.  Yeah.  Get over the jumps.

Of course, I was also petrified of fence 4.  And fence 5.  This may have been coloring my perspective…at that moment, all I wanted was to make it to fence 6.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Pony sez, don't go expecting me to look this nice all the time...

Dressage, I thought, was okay.  It was again inconsistent.  I was at a Joy clinic Friday and she said that he’s gotten a lot stronger and now needs to understand that accepting the contact is not optional.  Also, it would help if I rode with both reins.  Blasphemy!  You mean *use my reins*?  Gah.  Just when I thought I had it all figured out.

He resists especially on the right side and I think I need to keep working him in short spurts of “you will be very very on my aids now and get away with nothing” (and also I will be very there now and get away with nothing…) punctuated with little rests so I don’t blow his (our) mind(s).  Tee hee.

The judge liked that we were forward and balanced.  He did not so much like the unsteadiness in the bridle or the tightness in his topline.  But he did reward us with two 8s (the pony’s first 8s in recognized competition!), and we escaped at A with a 35.7, which is actually our best score to date.  It tied us for 2nd in a low 30s to 46-something range division. 

After I walked cross country, I was feeling, well, a little petrified about fence 4…after I checked the scores, I moved right along the nerves continuum to the ready to throw up marker.

I’m not going to upload dressage because converting the file for a whole test takes forever.  If you’re dying to watch it (yawn), just let me know :P

Fence 1 approach. Yeah, I thought it looked big too!

Stadium was big, opening with a max oxer, and contained a lot of filler.  Tons to look at.  I noticed there were time issues in the BN groups on Sat. and plenty of penalties.

They changed the look of only one fence for BN:  fence 3, a nice green rolltop on the short side off the outside 1-2 line, became a very airy looking brick wall cutout jump.  I saw it and immediately thought, I know they are trying to make it more inviting but I think we just went the other way.

We were third to go in BN.  The first two horses refused it.

The pony rapped both 1 and 2 (one in front, one behind) which is very unusual for him, but he was very crooked.  I sat on his tail and kicked and used my stick to 3, which he did not think belonged on course, at all, whatsoever.  He four-footed from a standstill and dropped his back and I hit him in the mouth.  I apologized and he went willingly on – I was very proud of him – he was sticky to the next few, which I can’t blame him for, but we ended the course very well.  And he gave me a clean change after fence 7!

I love a horse who does not hold a problem against you.

No thank you

Who got the better shot I wonder!

One extremely ugly moment, but we met the conditions of rules 1-3.  I am really very happy with the way he’s coming along in stadium.  I feel now that when we go into the ring he knows what he’s there for – no need to tour the whole place Mom, let’s get to work.  If it keeps feeling like this we are going to be able to look more and more at other things, like adjustability.  And I need to figure out the straightness problem.  It’s new…I didn’t have it until he got his body fixed.  “Fixed.”  Something is not fixed!

All's well that ends well

So, about xc fence 4.  I should start at the beginning.  Fence 1, logs.  Turn into the woods and fence 2, vertical faced brush box; turn into the next field and fence 3, itty bitty palisade. 

Fence 4, ginormous light wood table.  Made, I think, of popsicle sticks on steroids.  Lattice-y.  *Choke*

Fence 4 caused problems for the Saturday BN horses and riders…

Through a gap to another field, left turn to fence 5, barn red table with cutouts.  This one is not max, but both the color and shape seem to be a bit of a bugaboo for us right now, so it makes me nervous, but not as nervous as 4, because I figure we may never get to 5 anyway.

I have to hand it to the course designer (Tremaine Cooper) on this one because the first 3 fences had other questions to them – start, dark, light, turn and jump.  Fence 4 was then located after an open stretch in a field.

Looked like a galloping lane to me, so after he was very sticky at 3 (what!!?!!  it’s miniscule, pony!  *thinking we are in Big. Trouble. Now at 4*) – I gave a big kick, got out of the saddle, and asked him to gallop.

Sat up to 4, never took back, and it rode…amazingly well.  Maybe the best fence on course.  Doh.  The fence itself backed him off enough that I never had to get in the way to balance him.  But not for one minute did he feel like he wasn’t going to go.

We had two combinations on course (at BN!) – a coop to a drop, and a wide faced brush table to a narrow faced horseshoe nail panel X.  A skinny, funny looking xrail, basically, but entering the water complex which was quite busy.

Right into the water!

Splish splash

And out we go

I loved this xc run.  There was one time over the whole course that he dragged me.  Otherwise, he was wonderfully rideable, very keen, and careful but willing.  We did have a bobble at 7B, the drop – I think he just didn’t see it until he got there and we need to practice more things in combination.  He skittered sideways and then jumped down.  I figured somewhere in there we’d probably taken a step back and would score the 20pp.

I gave him big (loud…lol.  You never know how loud you are with the wind in your ears!) GOOD PONY!!!s across the whole course and hopped off as soon as we were through the finish line.  His ears were up, he was barely blowing or sweaty after 5 and a half minutes of cross country, and he right away nuzzled me looking for a treat.  He knew he’d been good!

If he is going to be so openminded I may need to keep experimenting with speed and letting him jump out of stride.  I have worried about not giving him enough time to check something out, but I’m wondering now if he feels more confident when he comes into something with a little head of steam.

We did do some trotting, and I think we ended up almost exactly on the OT.

Cross country – middle of the course

By now, my overheated, sunburned, water- and camera-toting, saintly husband just wanted to get on the eleventy billion hour trip home.  So I cooled out the pony, unbraided, packed up, and ran to the secretary’s tent to get my D test and check to see if scores were up.

They were up, they said we didn’t have a stop at 7B, posted one of only two double clears in our group…and won the division!

The pony’s blue means he is qualified for the Area Championships, and has his first qualifying score toward the American Eventing Championships too.

That doesn’t happen very much.  So even though it was a small group of green horses and even though we still have tons of homework…for the night he was BPOC (that’s Big Pony on Campus!).  He knew it, too :)

The pony inspects his loot. He got a lot of it!



  1. Yay!! Congrats to both of you. A well-deserved reward for lots of hard work!! :)

  2. Great job! Woo hoo!

  3. Congrats you two — rock on!! :D

  4. What a team – you two are awesome – congratulations!!!

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